Press (Holdings) Limited

The original shareholders of the PHL were two MCP seasoned politicians: the late Mr. Richard Katengeza and the late Mr. Sydney Somanje as nominees of the people of Malawi.

In 1970, the Central Executive Committee of the MCP decided that the original shareholders of the Malawi Press Limited, namely, Dr. Banda and Mr. Aleke Banda, should also be shareholders of Press (Holdings) Limited.  Following this decision, Dr Banda held 499,999 shares while Mr Aleke Banda held one share in the Press (Holdings) Limited, both as nominees of the people of Malawi.

In 1973, Mr. Aleke Banda was expelled from the MCP.  As a consequence of that expulsion, he was required to transfer the single share he held to another MCP nominee.  From 1974, Dr Kamuzu Banda became Chairman of Press (Holdings) Limited.  At this time, Mr Aleke Banda had been re-instated in the MCP and became the First Deputy Chairman and Managing Director of Press (Holdings) Limited.  However, a mere six years later, he was detained and once again he was forced to transfer the single share he held in Press (Holdings) Limited.  This time, the share was transferred to Mr. Sydney Somanje.  When Mr. Somanje died, this share was transferred to Press (Holdings) Limited and on 13th May 1994, it was transferred to Mr. John Tembo. 

With the passage of time, Press Holdings Limited became, in essence, a quasi-public body and enjoyed preferential treatment.  For example, its loans were guaranteed by the Malawi Government.  The company was considered to be a vehicle for development.  Because of its status as a quasi-public body, the company enjoyed considerable credit facilities from local banks.  Unfortunately, by 1981 Press (Holdings) Limited had become so heavily indebted that it was on the brink of collapse.  Given its dominant position in the economy, its collapse would inevitably have led to the collapse of the Malawi economy.  This prompted the Malawi Government to seek financial assistance from the World Bank and IMF to rescue it from the imminent economic collapse.  The World Bank and IMF provided a loan to the Government which was in turn passed onto Press (Holdings) Limited through ADMARC.  This was on condition that the company would be restructured and it would issue income notes as security for the loan.

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